The Night the Pollsters Got It Wrong

While his Republican rivals are filling school gyms and cafeterias, Rudy is playing it small.

In the living room on Garden Drive, he received enthusiastic applause from the attendees and a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair from Greg Carson, the chair of the Rockingham County Republican Party.

“The focus has not so much been on him in the last few months,” Mr. Carson said in the driveway of the house on Garden Drive after Mr. Giuliani and his entourage left. “The focus has been on other people.”

Saturday, Jan. 5, 11:45 a.m.
With John McCain, stacking the pews in Peterborough, N.H.

John McCain was left for dead six months ago. Things have changed just a little.

The Town Hall in Peterborough, the picturesque village that inspired Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, fits 640 people.

But now, 15 minutes before Mr. McCain’s only scheduled event for the day was to start, there were more than 800 people packed inside—and the angry fire marshal was at the front doors, shouting away more than a hundred more local residents and media members, a throng that spilled into the narrow downtown street.

An informal poll of voters near the entrance revealed that most were McCain voters and all had RSVP’d for the event. Some were miffed.

Saturday, Jan. 5, 8 p.m.
Romney breaks a sweat at St. Anselm

Mitt Romney and John McCain were fighting like cats and dogs at the Republican debate at St. Anselm College.

Mr. Romney, his hair shining, leaned forward and spoke rapidly and loudly while Mr. McCain leaned back in his chair and looked at him with squinted eyes, sort of like a skeptical parent listening to his teenage son frantically explaining away the giant dent in the family car.

But what really damned Mr. Romney was the assist Mr. McCain got from three of the other Republicans.

MITT ROMNEY TO MIKE HUCKABEE: “Governor, don’t try to characterize my position.”


Saturday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m.
Hillary lashes out at St. Anselm

“I want to make change, but I have already made change!” Hillary Clinton had said, almost yelling.

The Democratic debate over, it was time for the spin cycle.

The enormous cluster of reporters in the media room at St. Anselm College surrounding Mark Penn dispelled any question as to whether the debate was all about Hillary Clinton. It was.

“I think you saw some very good examples between talk and action in the debate,” Mr. Penn said, calling the debate “a fundamental eye-opener.”

Sunday, Jan. 6, 6 a.m.
The Union Leader hits the stands

This morning’s edition of the Union Leader contains a reminder of why the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest (and most conservative) newspaper is so coveted by Republicans: Two separate editorials (technically, one is a note from publisher Joseph McQuaid) touting John McCain and disparaging Mitt Romney, his chief rival in the state.

Sunday, Jan. 6, 1:30 p.m.
With Aragorn in Concord, N.H.

The actor Viggo Mortensen was so ticked off by the exclusion of Dennis Kucinich from Saturday night’s debates that he got on the red eye to New Hampshire.

He stood on a table with the Democratic candidate in the storefront headquarters in Concord this afternoon and spoke softly about the debates. “You have four people up there, no disrespect to any of them, who are cherry-picking from what Dennis is talking about.”

Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m.
With Hillary and the traveling press at Nashua High School North

After building them up as making a “tremendous contribution to this campaign” and offering “service to our country,” Hillary Clinton fervently went about the business of knocking down her opponents at a rally in the gymnasium of Nashua High School North.

Afterward she talked to reporters, who tested her statement that she would not have gone to war in Iraq if she’d been president.

“You know I’ve said that many times,” she scolded.

The Night the Pollsters Got It Wrong